Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
In early 2020 many countries closed schools to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Since then, governments have sought to relax the closures, engendering a need to understand associated risks. Using address records, we construct a network of schools in England connected through pupils who share households. We evaluate the risk of transmission between schools under different reopening scenarios. We show that whilst reopening select year-groups causes low risk of large-scale transmission, reopening secondary schools could result in outbreaks affecting up to 2.5 million households if unmitigated, highlighting the importance of careful monitoring and within-school infection control to avoid further school closures or other restrictions.
Munday JD, Sherratt K, Meakin S, Endo A, Pearson CAB, Hellewell J, Abbott S, Bosse NI, , Atkins KE, Wallinga J, Edmunds WJ, van Hoek AJ, Funk S. (2021). Implications of the school-household network structure on SARS-CoV-2 transmission under school reopening strategies in England. Nature communications, 12(1)